“It’s time to get rid of negative stereotypes. Addiction is a brain disease, not a moral failing,” said Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs Secretary Gary Tennis, who added “Stigmatizing the disease, so that our loved ones feel too ashamed to get help, only increases the number of Pennsylvanians who will die unnecessarily.” WRONG!
Tennis’s statement was reported on LevittownNow.com http://levittownnow.com/2016/11/29/surgeon-general-releases-first-report-addiction/ .
It’s no wonder that, after all the King’s Horses and All the Kings Men worked a long time on the substance abuse problem, the problem hasn’t only not been resolved; it’s getting worse.
The sixth step of the 12 steps program has it right:
6 We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. James 4:10
Substance abuse is a moral failing, a character defect, and not a brain disease. It’s this take on substance abuse that has made the 12 step program so successful. The first step in the 12 steps program is to admit that the problem is your fault. You should not be stigmatized by this idea, but realize that you have flaws and that there is hope.
- We admitted we were powerless over our addictions and compulsive behaviors, that our lives had become unmanageable. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.
For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. Romans 7:18
One reason I didn’t pursue an opportunity to be a drug rehab counselor at a methadone center years ago was that the counselor who tried to recruit me – I was a part time patient monitor at the clinic – showed me material that knocked the idea that drug abuse was a result of something bad inside us- that this would be a put down, hurt our whittle self esteem.
I worked at the methadone center a couple years after I graduated from high school. Decades later, at my high school reunion, I learned that classmate after classmate had died from drug overdose, many of whom had gone to the center. Evidently, the center didn’t have the right stuff.
Of course, problem people have to want to help themselves. But overall, a 12 steps program, particularly if it is Biblically based, has helped more people than has secular programs. 12 steps grew out of Alcoholics Anonymous.
There is something wrong in today’s society. How can suddenly a disease take over the minds and hearts of people the last several decades and turn us into a nation of peace loving freaks, relying on drugs and booze to find peace? We haven’t had any major epidemics for some time. Modern medicine and good practices have kept people well. We’ve made great strides in the treatment of cancer. There’s a treatment that came on the market about two years ago that my friend with lung cancer started a few months ago. The first CAT scan showed the treatment was working wonderfully well.
But in the last several decades we have a new epidemic? A disease called “substance abuse.” As that character used to say on Rowan and Martin’s Laugh In, “very interesting, but stupid.” (with a German accent).
We are trying to find peace this Christmas through material things. Greed is driving rabid customers to stores, fighting over bargains, sometimes with even violence erupting! Incessant ads beseech us to shop at Vanity Fair. (Don’t pay any attention to that man who sometimes appears behind the curtain on the right of the screen)
The Bible says that those who love money will never get enough of it – just like drugs – and will end up being a slave of their possessions.
“Whoever loves money never has money enough:
Whoever loves wealth is never
Satisfied with his income.
This too is meaningless.” -Ecclesiastes 5:10
Jesus is the reason for the season. He will make us whole, he will make us right. We become dysfunctional when we distance ourselves from God. Jesus was born in Bethlehem to save humankind from sin and bring people home to heaven.
He brought me up also out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock and established my goings. –Psalm 40:2
Originally, there were just six steps in the 12 steps program. Below are the 12 Steps, a program matched with Biblical principles: